The European Union (EU) has announced it has allocated EUR 688 million (USD 900 million) to Myanmar under its bilateral cooperation programme over the period 2014-2020 to reinforce its support to the country's multiple transition. The funds will help to develop rural areas and agriculture; improve food and nutrition security; support education; improve governance and the rule of law; and contribute to peacebuilding.
Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development said that:
"This programme will serve as the multiannual indicative framework for our cooperation over the next seven years and reflects the new partnership the EU and Myanmar have been building since 2011. It underlines EU's full commitment to support sustainable development and poverty reduction in the country for the benefit of all people living in Myanmar. The four focal areas of the EU’s cooperation will be Rural Development including agriculture, food and nutrition security; Education; Governance/Rule of Law/State Capacity Building; and Peacebuilding support. It is the result of extensive consultations with representatives from all parts of society in Myanmar, including at the EU-Myanmar Task Force in November 2013, and is in line with the Government's own development objectives.
In addition to the bilateral cooperation outlined in this programme, Myanmar will continue receiving support under other EU thematic and regional instruments and programmes. These cover a wide range of issues, including democracy and human rights, civil society, environment and climate change, human development, sustainable energy as well as trade".
Sustainable rural development is essential to achieve the eradication of poverty in rural areas of Myanmar. Therefore, the EU plans to finance actions up to EUR 241 million in the area of 'Rural development, agriculture and food and nutrition security'. We will provide support to address the challenges in the sector and the high levels of undernutrition, through supporting climate smart and nutrition sensitive agricultural production and value chains, increased resilience to natural disasters, improved natural resource management, better infrastructure and strengthened capacity.
The 'Education' sector in Myanmar will receive up to EUR 241 million. The EU will provide support for increased access to, and completion of, quality and equitable education; a strengthened education system and improved links between education and labour market needs.
In support of democratic and institutional reforms, up to EUR 96 million has been allocated to the sector 'Governance, Rule of law and State capacity-building'. The EU prioritises capacity development of institutions to improve public service delivery to the people of Myanmar. A key element is our support to the organisation of credible, transparent and inclusive elections in 2015 and beyond.
A sustainable transition requires national reconciliation. To help promote lasting peace, security and stability in Myanmar, up to EUR 103 million has been committed to 'Peacebuilding Support'. It includes support to the monitoring of a nationwide ceasefire, an inclusive political dialogue, security sector reform and mechanisms to accompany the transition. In addition, the focus will be on improving inter-communal relations and socio-economic recovery in conflict-affected communities.
With this support over the next 7 years, the EU will build on its on-going initiatives and continue to promote peace, inclusive growth, sustainable development and democratic governance for the benefit of all people in Myanmar.